Every three minutes, a child somewhere in the world is diagnosed with cancer. With September being Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, it’s important to get the facts on childhood cancer to help our children get the treatment and support they need.
How does cancer develop?
From a biological view, childhood and adult cancer develop in the same way. Cancer develops when cancerous cells grow and spread much faster than normal cells. They often cluster together, forming a tumor. When a tumor develops, it poses two major threats: localized damage and spreading to other organs of the body.
Facts on childhood cancer
- 80 percent of childhood cancers are diagnosed only after the disease has spread to other areas of the body.
- Each year in the United States, approximately 15,780 children under the age of 19 are diagnosed with cancer.
Common symptoms of childhood cancer
Unfortunately, symptoms of childhood cancers can be mistaken for more common injuries or illnesses, leading to a misdiagnosis… and ultimately a late cancer diagnosis. It is recommended that children have regular medical check-ups, and that parents pay close attention to any abnormal signs or chronic symptoms, such as:
- Persistent fever, nausea, or illness, often with vomiting
- Tendency to bruise easily
- Unusual lump or swelling
- Energy loss or limping
- Pale complexion
- Headaches, often accompanied by early morning vomiting
- Recurring pain in a specific area of the body
- Sudden vision changes
- A whitish hue behind the pupil
- Sudden weight loss
Types of childhood cancer
Common adult cancers such as lung, breast and colon seldom occur in children. Childhood cancers are often more aggressive than adult cancers and fall into one of the specific types listed below. These include:
- Bone cancers
- Brain cancers
- Leukemias (cancer of blood-forming tissues)
- Hepatoblastoma (adolescent liver cancer)
- Lymphomas (cancer of the lymphatic system)
- Neuroblastoma (cancer found in the adrenal glands)
- Retinoblastoma (cancer in the retina)
- Rhabdoid tumors (very aggressive tumors)
- Sarcomas (tumor of the connective tissues)
- Wilms tumor (tumor of the kidney)
Treatment options for pediatric cancers
Treatment options available for childhood cancer are chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery. Your child’s treatment plan will depend on the type of cancer he or she may have and a number of individual factors, and it will require a unique, specialized plan.
Our team of cancer doctors at Southeastern Medical Oncology Center is dedicated to your child’s treatment and well being. Contact us today for more information about childhood cancer and call the oncologists at (888) 774-0309 to schedule your appointment.